Pioneers Head to North Carolina: Showdown with Tar Heels

Denver is atop of a momentum building start to the season. Currently, DU sits 3-0 after downing Air Force, Furman and Duke. They’ve proven that the travel to east coast elevations and early games does not phase them. UNC enters this match at 4-0, undefeated as well. They’ve stunned big programs already this season like Johns Hopkins and High Point.


One of the driving forces behind the offensive surge that is DU this year is Connor Cannizzaro with 20 points over three games already (10 goals, 10 assists). Last week against Air Force, Cannizzaro tallied six points in a single game.

Wesley Berg sits right behind him with 19 points on the season and in third is Tyler Pace with 17 points. Denver is an offensive machine this season. They’re finding their opportunities and capitalizing on them.

Shooting at a percentage of .339, they’ve scored 43 goals on 127 shots. With three games under their 2015 belts, that’s an average of firing 40 shots per game at the opposing goalie and another average of 14.33 goals per game.

Tierney has this program on a path to success. They’ll stop at nothing to accomplish that goal. Any opponent of Denver’s should quiver in their shorts at the thought of pulling a penalty. The Pioneers are thunder-punching man-up opportunities for goals with a capitalization average of .778, converting seven goals out of nine opportunities.

Of the 74 face offs DU has encountered in 2015, they’ve secured 53 wins, averaging .716. That’s quite a performance from Trevor Baptiste, DU’s face-off man.


In their first meeting with Denver since 2009, the Tar Heels have totaled 67 goals for an average of .396. Additionally, the squad is experiencing mediocre success at the draw winning 52 of 112 attempts so far (.464). They’ve converted only four of 10 man-up opportunities though.

Jeremy Bitter leads this powerhouse offense alongside Joey Sankey with 22 and 21 points a piece, respectively. Bitter has 14 goals and 8 assists, Sankey with 11 and 10 respectively. With 14 points in third on the team is Luke Goldstock.

The Tar Heels are using a three-goalie rotation between Duncan Saunders, Brian Balkam and Kieran Burke. Balkam has played two full games (120 minutes) and made 24 saves. Saunders and Burke have split two games-worth of time (75 minutes and 45 minutes respectively) and each saved 7 goals.


UNC outplays Denver with both shots per period and scoring per period. Unbelievably, UNC’s offensive efforts are more successful than Denver’s statistically.

Denver is ranked #1, but UNC is playing like #1.

This match up will be a showdown and true demonstration of both team’s capabilities. Denver will prove much with a win over UNC (who’s already beaten Hopkins), but UNC will rock all the rankings with an upset over Denver (who’s already beaten Duke).